By David Stratton
Editor’s Note: This is the third in GamingToday’s exclusive series of articles on video poker. Expert L.J. Zahm this week discusses a new game, Four Card Keno, which gives players more chances to win. His experiences are chronicled in an upcoming book, "Cluster Keno: Using the Zone System to Win at Video Keno."
GT: You’ve previously mentioned that Four Card Keno lends itself to your Cluster method of playing video keno. Can you explain how it works, and specifically how you play the game to benefit from keno clusters?
L.J.: I suppose Four Card Keno can be construed as video keno’s answer to the immensely popular multi-hand video poker, such as Triple Play, five-hand, 10-hand poker and more.
Its concept is very simple: players can play up to four different keno cards on the same keno game. That is, you can mark one to four cards (you don’t have to play all four), picking any number of spots on each card. Then the game proceeds as in regular keno.
The obvious advantage is that you can cover a lot more numbers than with one card. Equally, the disadvantage is that you’re betting four cards instead of one, and the costs can mount.
Four Card Keno is available in various denominations, from 5 cents up to a dollar, and I’ve found that the multi-denominational machines offer the best chances to win, because you can move from one denomination to another by simply touching the screen.
GT: How do you tailor the clusters and patterns you mentioned last week to the Four Card keno game?
L.J.: This is where the cluster system pays off. Many long time video keno players will probably agree that numbers always seem to land right next to their chosen numbers, almost as if they had "eyes" and knew how to just miss! Well, by playing numbers in clusters that are in close proximity to each other, you are often able to catch those numbers and hit a jackpot.
Here are a couple of examples (I have many more listed in my book): A 10-spot player often bets the entire horizontal row, which is fine. But you can get a lot more mileage out of playing two 10-spot rows on top of each other (such as the 20’s and 30’s rows), as well as the two 10-spot cards made up of 21-25, 36-40 numbers and the 31-35, 26-30 numbers. This way you have an overlap, in which you can sometimes hit, say two seven out of 10, or even two eight out of 10 jackpots.
Similarly, I like to play two solid eight columns (vertical), such as the 3 and 4 columns, coupled with the two 8-spot cards made up of the 3, 13, 23, 33, 44, 54, 64, 74 and the 4, 14, 24, 34, 43, 53, 63, 73 numbers. Again, you have overlap, opening the possibility of "doubling up" on a six out of eight or even seven out of eight jackpot.
(Next week: L.J. Zahm reviews other keno games, such as Triple Trouble, Keno Plus, playing progressives, money management and more.)